Cloud Video Surveillance: An Affordable Way for SMEs to Improve Security and Leverage Analytics

If your business uses a video surveillance system, it’s likely deployed on-premises. I also bet that your company outsources installation and maintenance services to a System Integrator (SI). If this sounds like your company, you’re not alone; most businesses today operate surveillance operations this way. However, cloud video surveillance solutions are reshaping the commercial surveillance industry. Cloud-based camera solutions allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to leverage advanced surveillance features conveniently and cost-effectively. Security and business outcomes once unimaginable for smaller companies are now within arm’s reach.

Table 1: Video Surveillance Revenue (US$ Millions) by Service Type

World Markets: 2022 to 2030

(Source: ABI Research)

Service Type










CAGR 22-30

Cloud Data and Analytics Services











Cloud Device and Application Platform Services











Professional Services

































What Is Cloud Video Surveillance?

Simply put, cloud video surveillance is a form of video security done with easy-to-use, remotely managed surveillance systems. Cloud-based video surveillance reduces the hardware (cameras) and installation costs associated with on-premises surveillance systems, a major benefit for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with limited budgets. It’s also important to note that cloud surveillance systems fall under a Video Surveillance-as-a-Service (VSaaS) model, which allows businesses to pay as they go.

How Video Is Streamed to the Cloud

Video footage can be streamed to the cloud in two main ways: through a gateway/bridge or via direct-to-cloud cameras. The former method involves businesses sending video footage from new or legacy cameras to the cloud using a gateway or a bridge device provided by the VSaaS provider. Although less popular, some other companies choose to purchase proprietary cloud cameras from a vendor to stream footage straight to the cloud. This second method can remove the need for any hardware (e.g., Network Video Recorders (NVRs)) other than the camera.

Meeting Surveillance Footage Retention Regulations with Cloud Storage

Businesses in heavily regulated industries, such as healthcare, finance, law enforcement, and the growing cannabis market, could all benefit from cloud-based surveillance. Organizations in these sectors must comply with local and national regulations requiring camera footage to be stored for anywhere between 30 days and several months. For example, marijuana businesses in the U.S. state of Massachusetts must have surveillance footage available to law enforcement and regulators for 90 days.

While some on-site video surveillance providers offer industry-specific solutions, enterprise customers still find on-site deployments to be expensive, inconvenient, and hard to scale. As surveillance storage capacity needs continue to increase, this presents a big challenge, especially for budget-conscious SMEs with minimal Information Technology (IT) competencies. Adding to the challenge is the fact that video surveillance cameras leverage higher resolutions, which compounds the data footprint.

VSaaS solutions are key for these businesses expanding their security apparatuses and being able to store footage for the required time span. By going with remote, cloud-based surveillance systems, users can maintain high-resolution video footage as they scale in an economical manner.

Cloud Solutions Enable Compatibility with Legacy Surveillance Technologies

One of the biggest benefits of cloud video surveillance is that businesses can modernize their security operations without purchasing new on-premises technologies. Your company probably already owns a video surveillance system, but you’re not going to be fond of the idea of purchasing additional servers, software, or newer Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based cameras.

If your company wants to keep the cameras that were bought a decade ago, cloud surveillance systems let you do just that by streaming to the cloud with a gateway device. Or, if you want to leverage advanced video analytics, you can keep your on-premises servers, while handing off additional computing workloads to data centers.

Using the Cloud to Facilitate Advanced Video Analytics

Today, it’s common for security surveillance solutions to support video analytics like object and person detection, line crossing detection, people counting, and perimeter protection. However, businesses quickly realized that these technologies could also be applied to non-security use cases. Retail is a standout use case, where store chains use video analytics to map out the shopper journey, measure foot traffic, and track occupancy. As another example, Human Resources (HR) departments can use video analytics to ensure employees follow safety guidelines, such as wearing proper protective gear at oil & gas sites.

Moreover, the market is seeing some cloud vendors build their video analytics systems for specific verticals. RetailNext and VIVOTEK are two good examples of companies offering a retail-centric video analytics Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.

Cloud Surveillance Reduces Complexity

As companies increasingly use server-side analytics in their on-premises video surveillance systems, this adds more system sophistication. This requires software installations and third-party integrations (e.g., access control solutions), each of which is an expensive, time-consuming task often outsourced to System Integrators (SIs). Configuring surveillance systems will become even more complex as your company looks to connect the Video Management Software (VMS)/analytics softwaree with business intelligence systems. Large companies have deep pockets and can afford to pay an SI to ensure system compatibility, but what about SMEs? Enter cloud solutions.

New players in the VSaaS market emphasize that cloud surveillance is more practical for SMEs than on-premises solutions. The big selling points are fewer third-party integrations and fewer in-person maintenance visits, which helps keep costs and complexity down. New SaaS providers and traditional video surveillance vendors are seizing the opportunity to capture a historically untapped market of smaller businesses by creating tailored and simple cloud-based solutions.

The Future of Cloud Video Surveillance

The flexible SaaS model of cloud video surveillance is attractive to SMEs, allowing them to pay a small monthly fee per camera and to gain advanced analytics features like facial recognition for an additional fee. Moreover, it allows businesses to upgrade their video surveillance systems without replacing hardware already purchased years ago. And if Internet connections continue to improve in speed and affordability, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that cloud solutions will be a very popular option to tap into newer surveillance features. It’s also entirely possible to go with a hybrid model, keeping some aspects of your surveillance system on-premises and using the cloud for additional computing and scalable data storage.

Ultimately, cloud video surveillance is all about reducing Capital Expenditure (CAPEX), a huge benefit for smaller businesses that don’t wish to deal with hardware installations. Moreover, cloud-based installation means that updates and patches to the surveillance system are typically done automatically, reducing managerial complexity.

While ABI Research expects most cloud surveillance connections to be made through the use of gateways and bridges, some businesses will choose to adopt direct-to-cloud cameras from vendors like Verkada or Eagle Eye Networks. This latter option would still save your company on hardware spending because it eliminates the need to purchase Network Video Recorders (NVRs) and other surveillance equipment.

There are still many other factors to consider when shopping for a cloud-based video surveillance solution—including system interoperability, service and installation options, and vendor analysis. You can gather all this information by downloading ABI Research’s IoT and Video Surveillance: Revenue Model Evolution report. This content is part of our Video Surveillance in IoT Research Spotlight.

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